The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, on Monday declared that Hajj authorities and stakeholders in Nigeria had learnt lessons from the 2022 Hajj operations in order to avert a future reoccurrence of any mistakes.
The chairman made the declaration at the commencement of a four-day post-Hajj meeting with state pilgrims’ welfare boards/commissions/ agencies on at the NAHCON’s Hajj House headquarters in Abuja.
According to him, the lessons learnt required all parties to pull resources together to accomplish greater success in future operations.
While congratulating all members for their successful participation in the 2022 Hajj, Hassan said some countries could not attend the year’s pilgrimage.
He informed that the Commission had reviewed the 2022 Hajj, adding that this would be forwarded to the states for review and contributions with a view to having a common stand.
Speaking on the Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS), Alhaji Hassan said states and NAHCON had reached a degree of agreement and would announce their stand on the scheme by Wednesday.
The Chairman also informed that the Hajj body had made a request for refund to the pilgrims’ establishment in Saudi Arabia before departing the Kingdom from the Hajj.
According to Fatima Sanda Usara, NAHCON’ Deputy Director, Public Affairs, while addressing the meeting, the commission’s Commissioner of Policy, Personnel Management and Finance, Alhaji Nura Hassan Yakassai, informed that the process of reconciliation of Hajj fares had been concluded and documents signed between NAHCON and 33 states with only Ondo, Osun and Taraba states yet to sign.
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He said that having to reconcile between NAHCON, states and now Ja’iz Bank additionally slowed down the process, adding that refund had commenced based on request by states.
While disclosing that more states would receive their refunds based on laid down procedures, the commissioner disclosed that some states would have to refund NAHCON specific amounts of money.
Yakassai disclosed that one of the issues of contention in the year’s reconciliation was the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s 2% service charge and said that NAHCON had accepted to bear 1% off the states.
He, however, urged them to note that from 2023, the standard CBN service charge is 2% unless there are new developments.
Speaking on behalf of the state pilgrims’ welfare boards, the Adamawa State Executive Secretary, who doubles as the Financial Secretary of the Forum and Acting Secretary for the day’s activity, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Salihu, expressed gratitude to all NAHCON staff and his colleagues that contributed positively to the 2022 Hajj one way or the other.
He then reiterated the fact that the two bodies need each other to function effectively.
The four-day post Hajj meeting continues on Tuesday with a meeting with licensed tour operators where discussions will dwell on review of 2022 Hajj, update on refund expected from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, reconciliations of Hajj fares and way forward on the Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS).